Issues with Horses

Hawklad was playing online with his best friend so I had an afternoon to burn. Let’s go for a local walk.

I have issues with HORSES. Always have. Some say its because they like me for some reason but I know differently. The truth. They are after me.

As a child I once went to Africa to visit my sister. At one stage I was asked to stand next to a horse so my family could take a CINE film. Remember those…. As I stroked this particular fella, much laughter ensued. The horse literally ate my T-shirt. From then on the vendetta took hold. A few years later I was trying to get into a Football Stadium to see Newcastle get beat again. Stood in the queue chomping on a chocolate bar when a police horse stood on my foot. As I spun round in pain another police horse ate my Mars Bar……

The theme continued. I was walking on Dartmoor when a wild pony pinched my sandwich……

If only it was always that end. I was walking through a city centre to a meeting one afternoon when I came across a crowd. A new Betting Shop was opening and the famous Racehorse, Red Rum was the guest of honour. I found my self in a queue which I thought led to a free T-shirt but no, it was the queue to stand next to the great horse. I patted the huge horse with some trepidation and he repaid me by crapping on my shoe….

See they have issues with me. Maybe it’s because they know that I once voted for that horse loving movie, The Godfather as my favourite soundtrack ever. They know….

So on this particular grey Yorkshire afternoon I found myself walking across a field when over the hill a pack of ravenous beasts appeared. They came closer….

And came closer…

And closer….

And closer….

And sensing blood, even closer….

I was surrounded. I now knew what it felt like for Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum to be surrounded by a pack of blood thirsty Jurassic Raptors.

And remembering the best Jurassic Park survival strategy, I legged it. And when I got back home guess what. I had stood in horse poo….. See they have issues with me.

Swimming

Surely even I can swim across this mighty river.

“Are you sure Dad, your not exactly fish like”

I know but it’s probably just about within the max of my swimming range.

“Dad the bath is the max of your swimming range…..”

But I am a bit of a sporting super being, I could probably jump across the stream.

“Really Dad”

I think so, I am built for sporting excellence. Some say I have a passing resemblance to Thor 🤣🤣🤣🤣

“Maybe the Thor that had cheese puffs flowing through his veins but you definitely have a sure fire resemblance to Fat Tony from The Simpsons”

*******Harsh but fair*********

Daffodils 1

Just one random Yorkshire village in Spring. For a few glorious weeks a scene of yellow. The Daffodils take over.

Much needed lift to the soul.

Do you remember the simpler, less connected days. Days when all you needed to be fully connected was a pen and a piece of paper. Now Device X needs to confirm that you are really you by talking to Device Y and only then will Device Z do what you asked Device X to do. That’s fine as long as Device Y is working. In my case Device Y is a mobile phone. But for the last two weeks our mobile signal has been off due to network issues. So when Device X messages Device Y, it misses. So Device Y can’t confirm identity to Device Z, so Nothing Happens.

Deep Joy.

Perfect timing as the Debit Card rules have changed apparently. Now virtually every online transaction I try to make requires Device X to confirm to Device ……. You get the picture. This means every transaction ends up with me on the phone to the bank listening to customer care recorded music.

Deep joy.

All apart from Amazon which still doesn’t need Device X to…. So Amazon is getting a shedload of business from me.

Deep joy.

Well today I tried to pay a home oil bill and guess what Device X needed to talk to …… So I was on the phone to the bank again. After listening to 50 minutes of badly recorded Euro Pop someone finally picked up the phone. Utterly spookily randomly bizarrely the person on the other end was someone I was at Uni with. I hadn’t spoken to her in over 30 years. Speaking to someone sat in a different country who was sorting out by bank card, who once cut my hair. Cut it badly, I can’t remember why she ended up cutting my hair. Maybe it was because I looked seriously uncool, looking like Shaggy from Scoobydoo after he had put his head in the tumble dryer for 30 minutes. After the haircut I ended up with another Scooby Doo haircut, this time Thelma’s.

This all goes to show that I actually don’t need Device Y to be truly connected.

Password

Colours are slowly returning to the landscape.

If only everything was such a welcoming site…

“Please change your password…..”

Sounds so easy doesn’t it, if only…… Remember when passwords were just a few letters long and so easy to remember. A first name, a birthday or just the classic old 8 letter password, ‘PASSWORD’. I never forgot a password when it was just PASSWORD. Now they have to be at least a million characters long, contain symbols and most contain no memorable elements. Deep joy.

So the work system was refusing access until my password was changed. It rejected the first few attempts as they did not meet its precise formatting requirements. Then the next one was kicked out as I couldn’t just reuse the last password (worth a try). The next failed as it was too similar to a previous one. So I randomly entered 10 characters, unbelievably that was also a previous password. So next was a devilish password that the system liked but one that was so vexing that I was unable to successfully re enter a second time. Finally I took the cop out option and let the system pick a password. Job done. Only problem is that it never told me what my new password was. It’s my password, shouldn’t I know it. Anyway I can now finally get into the work system.

Not quite.

Now a message. ‘You have just changed your password, we now need to confirm your identity. Please enter the code which has been messaged to your mobile.’

Now I just needed to find the pesky phone. Took me ages to locate it, why didn’t I immediately think to check in the garage next to the recycling bins. When I did eventually find the phone, the time limited code had expired and unbelievably my new password was rejected. Yes I was back with the message

“Please change your password…..”

And with that I switched the laptop off and I went to look at some flowers again. No password required for that……

Cable

One Atlantic storm down, the next one heading towards us.

Is that overhead power cable supposed to be like that….

So far several cranes, vehicles, trucks and at least 14 workers have been parked along this lane for over 16 hours now. All because of this one pesky piece of wire. That’s proper attention seeking for you.

In an ironic twist of fate, this was the very week our area phones got switched over to VOIP. Previously our phones worked when the power was off, now the helpful new service message is “in the very unlikely occurrence of power cuts, your new improved phone will not work. Please ensure you have a backup plan”. Is that mobiles, smoke signals or a messenger pigeon they are talking about. Not every household will have a mobile.

So the power has been mostly on and off today. One cable is still intact but looking very baggy….. When the power is on I have visions of Back to the Future. Some unfortunate worker having to do an impression of Dr Brown, holding two bits of cable in each hand and shouting “1.21 GIGAWATTS” as his hair smokes. Just so I can put on my kettle for a cup of tea. This is Yorkshire….

Soup

The relative calm before the arrival of the next two Atlantic storms. What’s it to be this week. Direct hits or glancing blows.

Definitely soup weather.

Today felt like a carrot and ginger soup affair. Plenty of carrots to be used up. Eight carrots later, throw in a sweet potato, already to go. Just need to add some cut ginger root. Hawklad came to see what was cooking.

Perfect timing Hawklad. Here you take the bag of ginger and you can add it to the soup.

As I explained the soup and the merits of adding ginger.

“Dad what are you adding to the soup now”

I’ve just explained, it’s the ginger.

“But Dad I’m holding the pack of ginger, I will say it again, what are you adding the soup…”

Erm I’m not entirely sure now. Oh pants. You are holding the ginger and I’m holding a bag of chamomile herbal tea…. It’s now become Ginger and Chamomile Tea soup.

“Is that going to be a soup sensation Dad”

It might need something else to give it some panache….. what to add. Something spicy.

“What about Ginger”

That would be admitting my cooking failings.

“Leave it with me Dad.”

Ok I’ve turned my back, what are you adding. Something spicy like curry powder, cumin, chilli.

“No it appears to say Ground Lavender, is that spicy enough for you…”

You have no idea what Lavender is have you son.

“No I don’t but looking at your face and smelling that soup, it’s the perfect choice. And the best thing about this whole deal. It’s your soup, I’m having fish fingers for lunch, so it’s all yours……”

##################

There you go. Carrot, Chamomile and Lavender Soup. Eat your heart out Heston Blumenthal.

Photo from The Times

Sharks

The daft things we say or I say.

I was about to quote a certain Star Wars catchphrase to Hawklad. Unfortunately I was still a bit distracted as I had just been to the kitchen to fetch some ice cream, so ‘let the FORCE be with you’ came out as ‘Let the FRIDGE be with you’. That would fundamentally change the overall ethos of the Jedi Order.

Then just a few minutes later…..

“Dad I can’t believe you said that”…

It will taste like chicken, everything tends to taste like chicken.

“Dad, it might work with meat but I asked what a pomegranate taste likes….”

That is a valid point. That old expression just popped into my head. To be fair I am from Yorkshire which explains many things. Round here if you stop your car for directions you run the risk of getting this helpful piece of advice, “Eh Lad, I wouldn’t be starting from here to get there…”

Is it just a Yorkshire thing…..

My mind wanders back several decades. I remember going on a Geography Field trip with school. We went to the seaside and found ourselves on top of a huge cliff. One lad asked the teacher, a right Yorkshire character, if we could follow the steep path down to the beach. This was at the time a certain big fish with teeth movie was scaring the pants off millions of cinema goers. The teacher replied “NO”. When asked why, the first excuse that popped into his head was

“Because of sharks…..”. The mad teacher must have realised just how daft that had sounded to a group of snotty nosed teenagers. Pointing down at the massive cliff face he calmly recovered his credibility.

“I’d like to see Jaws climb up that bugger and then try to bite me on the bum, stood up here. “

This mad teacher had lots of form, I think he deserves his own post one day. Anyway looking back all those years, my FRIDGE comment isn’t so bad now. But I guess cliff top Great White shark attacks are kinds rare in Yorkshire.

Terrible Poetry

Somedays are more tiring than others. Some days are more stressful than others. Somedays the serious words don’t come. Somedays it’s best just be silly.

It’s been too long. Actually I can hear shouts of ‘not long enough’. But here goes. It’s Terrible Poetry time. The Bad Bard is back. All thanks to Chelsea Owens Terrible Poetry contest.

https://chelowens.com/category/contests/terrible-poetry-contest/

This time the rules are….

  1. Topic: The family pet, written Golden Shovel Style. Here are the rules for the Golden Shovel: Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire. Use each word in the line (or lines) as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines). The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.
  2. The Length is up to you.
  3. As far as I can tell, Rhyming is up to you, too.
  4. Whatever, man, just make it terrible!Dredge up Fido’s memories and remains through the worst eulogy printed on Purina Puppy Chow. Set the still-living Princess Catarina howling in indignance. Send Horace the hamster spinning with rage.
  5. Let’s keep the Rating: PG or cleaner. How risqué do your animals get?

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Thursday (February 3) to submit a poem to Chelsea.

So which classic poem shall we go for. Something poetic, something beautiful, something deep, something philosophical. Let’s go for a classic opening line that ticks all those boxes. Maybe Shakespeare, maybe Blake, maybe Wordsworth. Or maybe Philip Larkin, maybe his classic ‘This be the verse’ with its uplifting first line…..

‘They F**k you up, your mum and dad’

That’s me kicked out before I even start…..

So let’s use those poetic word gems do type an ode to Captain Chaos. Let’s make it Terrible.

His best buddy is a seriously fat cat, it’s far too quiet, where are THEY

They have just pulled the curtain off the wall, what the F**K

Now it’s on the floor, covered in hairs, well Thank YOU

Captain now thinks it’s great fun to try to hump the cat, that’s seriously messed UP

Even The Cap knows you can’t end a sentence with a possessive determiner like YOUR

But he is a clever dog with a great pedigree, a beautiful white Spitz is his MUM

He gets his intelligence, looks, fluffy hair and cunning from her AND

being a right ruffian, rogue, rascal and rampantly randy from his Cocker Spaniel DAD

Weaponised Baking

It’s been a while. Too long. But fear not. Baking is back. As Spock would say, it’s baking Jim but not as we know it…. I like to call it Weaponised Baking.

I know so many of you wait for those Michelin Standard baking tips. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

So here goes.

I was about to bake a loaf of bread but I wanted to spice it up a tad. Maybe add some cheese, or a few Mediterranean herbs. But it just didn’t go far enough. What could I find in the fridge or cupboards which was game changing..

A few hours later we have……

I give you gluten and dairy free, no added sugar – BLACK FOREST FRUIT BREAD.

The end result, just a bit different from cheesy bread. The taste, well it’s different. As Hawklad described it

Well it doesn’t taste poisonous, it’s a unique sensation. Its like my taste buds are being assaulted…..”

True weaponised baking…..

Worries

There is something truly magical about a Walk in the Woods when the weather has closed in. It can be the start of so many stories and adventures.

A planned meet-up with my sister failed today. Hawklad agreed to go for it and then my sisters car went on strike. These things happen. A distraction would have been good. Just one of those days in which Hawklad’s anxieties spiked. When they hit, they hit in waves. Not just one thing, a range of things. When he gets kind of on top of one thing, two more jump in to replace them. Doesn’t matter that it’s Christmas Eve, these anxiety waves can hit at any time. They confuse his thought process. They cause him sensory overload. They stop him in his tracks.

I know what it’s feels like. I’ve been there as well.

Distraction sometimes works. Pacing about. Scooby Doo. Lego. Walks. But at some stage we have to work through the anxieties. Try to unpick them. Put them into context. Do what we can.

Slowly this time, the waves begin to subside. You can tell when he is getting there. The first signs

“Dad where is The Big Red Fella on Track Santa”

On his way to Madagascar apparently. He arrives in 7 minutes.

“I wonder just how many in England have been put on the naughty list this year”

It’s probably more a massive database than a list. You won’t be on it.

“Dad you are officially on the naughty list with that jumper of yours. Even Elton John wouldn’t wear that.”

I will have you know it’s a handmade Italian climbing sweater.

“Which they export for muppets like you to buy because no self respecting Italian will ever wear that.”

Harsh but fair….

“Why in earth is it about three sizes to big for you…”

I bought it when I was climbing in Wales years ago. My size was standard price but the garden shed size was 80% off. That’s a bargain I couldn’t turn down.

“But it’s far too big for you…”

It’s not that big….

“Dad there’s more room in that jumper than in our loft, a family of 4 could live in there”

That’s mostly down to all the weight I’ve lost on my diets

“If only Dad….”

Ok. It is a tad big. I can change my T-shirt without taking it off. But I could give it to you. Think of it as a precious hand me down from father to son.

“Just NO. That would really give me something to worry about…..”

####he chuckled at that one, that’s a good sign###